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Six-speed transmissions are widely available on Chevrolet vehicles, and that’s to your advantage. There are some terrific benefits to the six-speed transmission that affect your wallet and your driving experience – improved acceleration and performance, increased fuel efficiency, reduced CO(2) emissions and a quieter ride. We start with the general benefits, followed by a more technical description of how the six-speed transmission works.
Improved vehicle performance
Put simply, a six-speed transmission uses its wider spread of gears to provide improved acceleration at the bottom end and an overdrive gear at the top end for fuel efficiency. With more gear choices, your overall driving experience is enhanced at any speed.
Increased fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions
The sixth gear – overdrive in a six-speed transmission – helps reduce engine revolutions (RPM) during highway cruising. Reduced RPM increases fuel efficiency because your engine doesn’t have to work as hard, or turn over as often. With a sixth (overdrive) gear in your Chevrolet six-speed transmission vehicle, you’re saving money at the pump and reducing CO2 emissions.
The low RPM of the sixth overdrive gear also means less engine noise, so your ride is quieter.
Sometimes a comparison makes things clearer. So if you’re wondering whether there’s a real benefit to a six-speed vs. a four- or five-speed transmission, here are some contrasts.
In performance, according to Mark Gilmore, GM global engineering director for manual transmissions, “Six-speed transmissions inherently offer increased flexibility over four- or five-speed transmissions to fine tune the gear ratios to specific engine characteristics and vehicle performance targets.”1
In fuel consumption, while fuel savings will vary by Chevrolet model, typically a six-speed automatic transmission will increase fuel efficiency by up to four percent compared to Chevrolet 4-speed automatic transmissions, which already offer excellent fuel efficiency.
Gear Talk -- Tech Talk about vehicle performance
To explain how a six-speed transmission gives you better acceleration, we first have to talk about something you may not hear about every day: gear ratio spread.
Gear ratio is the number of times that a vehicle’s driveshaft turns for every one wheel rotation. A six-speed transmission means you have six gears, giving you a wide ratio spread. And because of the wide ratio spread in Chevrolet’s six-speed transmission, first gear is a very high ratio (sometimes called a “steep” gear). A high ratio, or “steep” gear, means you’ll get very brisk acceleration or “launch” when you start from a full stop.
What’s the overall effect of the wide ratio spread? As Jim Lanzon, executive director of transmission engineering for GM Powertrain, says, “a six-speed transmission uses the six gears to evenly distribute the engine’s torque as you accelerate, and then settle at an overdrive ratio.”2
And, with the six-speed, “smaller ‘steps’ are used between the gears, compared to a conventional four-speed automatic.”3 As a result, the transmission accesses the best gear for the speed you’re driving and the road conditions. When you’re on a hill, for example, you won’t sense that your transmission is trying to “hunt” for the right gear.
Six-speed transmissions are offered in both automatic and manual, and six-speed automatic technology is now available in almost all Chevrolet cars, trucks, SUVs and crossovers in our 2012 line-up, in front, rear and all-wheel drive applications.
Here is a list of 2012 Chevrolet vehicles that offer six-speed automatic transmissions.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Chevrolet Silverado HD
1 12 Chevrolet Models Offer Fuel-Saving, Six-speed Automatic Transmissions for 2011 Model Year. GM Communications.
2, 3 GM Launches More Fuel-Saving Six-Speed Automatic Transmissions. GM Communications. Media.gm.com. 2006-05-18.
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